What’s Next For Industry 4.0?

By Kawal Preet | First published: May 4, 2018    Updated: June 14, 2020

Rapid advances in technology are changing the way we manage logistics. These upgrades are powering new opportunities for businesses and consumers.

Simply being digital is no longer an option. We are now seeing transformation occur around us as we accelerate through Industry 4.0. Meaning we’re way past the phase of introduction into how physical and artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the way computers and automation work together. These technological advancements have created new solutions to enhance customer experiences, whether they be online or offline.

Take for instance the increasing use of virtual assistants that are constantly learning to serve customers more intuitively. Look at how automation in warehouses is resulting in striking improvements in loading and unloading cargo. Industry 4.0 is an everyday reality in many companies, shaping work routines and logistics. But what’s next?

In the coming decades, technology will continue to advance in terms of improving connections between people, systems, machines and manufacturers. That means the next wave post-COVID-19 will involve companies investing feet-first in such tech in order to become more agile and collaborative.. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics can help to enhance productivity, business recovery and continuity in less wasteful ways.

Using IoT, our FedEx SenseAware® service offers high visibility to customers that need it, such as those in the medical, aerospace, high-value and hi-tech industries. SenseAware monitors a range of variables including temperatures and humidity, sending alerts during shipments.

Another significant opportunity to improve supply chain efficiency exists with the technology behind blockchain. This means a shared network or database (or chain of events, aka blocks) that can track almost any kind of business activity – from financial transactions to medical records and patents. When shipping goods, blockchain tech can reduce risks and develop cost and time efficiencies for customers, especially when moving something of high-risk or high-value such as pharma products. When there is a need for a trusted custodial chain, it offers customers greater visibility to their shipments throughout their journey.

The growing e-commerce market with its high efficiency, low costs and enhanced precision is the key driver for the logistics and warehousing market. The increasing need for automation across the growing end-user industries is again enhancing market growth. Customers now seek a more personalized and convenient delivery service.

In logistics, technologies like AI are opening up new possibilities for process efficiency and customer convenience. At the current rate of AI development, we in the industry will soon see customers placing shipment orders with a simple verbal instruction via digital personal assistants.

We’re responding to changing customer lifestyles and needs, too. Solutions such as FedEx Delivery Manager® empower the end customer to manage their packages from their mobiles, scheduling deliveries and choosing from several delivery options at their convenience.

Autonomy is imminent, too. The logistics industry anticipates widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles in the shipping sector in the next decade or so, plus further automation of large long-haul vehicles.

It’s clear that embracing Industry 4.0 will bring greater productivity and rapid innovation at reduced costs. 4.0 will help in the rapid evolution of a new ecosystem in which partners (vendors or suppliers and end customers) will all come together to create use cases and definitive standards. Greater collaboration, better efficiency - sounds like good news for us all.
About the Author
the author bio

Kawal Preet

Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, FedEx Express

Kawal started out as a FedEx engineer in Singapore over 20 years ago, and she’s now the President of FedEx Express AMEA. Kawal is based in Hong Kong.

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